Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

An early-in-the-season yet late-in-the-year drive along the Possumhaw Trail

with 15 comments


The stretch of TX 29 between Liberty Hill in Williamson County and Burnet in Burnet County might well be called the Possumhaw Trail for the dozens and dozens of Ilex decidua trees scattered along the route. They become conspicuous from December through February for their bright red fruits (technically drupes, commonly called berries). This picture is from the last day of 2022. The green and tan leaves weren’t from the possumhaw, all of whose leaves had already fallen, but rather from a greenbrier vine, Smilax bona-nox.



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Last year and yesterday I mentioned Marva Collins, who for decades worked wonders of education with black children in a poor Chicago neighborhood. I’ve found some online videos about her and her school that you can watch:

Success! The Marva Collins Approach (1981).

60 Minutes: Marva Collins (1995, following up their first story in 1979): Part 1 and Part 2.

After the original 60 Minutes story aired in 1979, Marva Collins “received over 6000 letters from desperate parents.”

You can also read a thorough review of Marva Collins’ Way, the book I cited yesterday.


© 2023 Steven Schwartzman





Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 20, 2023 at 4:27 AM

Posted in nature photography

Tagged with , , , , ,

15 Responses

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  1. Your photo is beautiful!

    Rei Clearly

    January 20, 2023 at 4:44 AM

  2. These berries make a very attractive display. I like your idea of a Possumhaw Trail, sounds like an Uncle Remus story.

    Robert Parker

    January 20, 2023 at 7:41 AM

  3. You’ve been awash in autumn color this year, but even down here it’s finally time for the yaupons and possumhaws to shine. The displays aren’t necessarily large, but it’s certainly easy to see the bits of attractive color scattered through the landscape, and this is a gorgeous example.


    January 20, 2023 at 8:14 AM

    • It’s good to hear those spots of red have washed their way to the coast. Many of the possumhaws along TX 29 had bright but modest displays of fruit. My quest was understandably for dense and large ones. The tree shown here seemed to be the best. Tomorrow’s post will show how I continued the quest in Austin four days later with a happy accompaniment of wispy clouds.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 20, 2023 at 8:21 AM

  4. What a cheerful impression these red berries with blue background made on me this morning!

    Peter Klopp

    January 20, 2023 at 9:13 AM

  5. There are a few shrubs here that give red round fruit. I think one is Toyon. Not sure about the others.

    Alessandra Chaves

    January 20, 2023 at 7:50 PM

  6. The video was interesting. I had not heard about this.

    Alessandra Chaves

    January 20, 2023 at 8:02 PM

    • That probably because Marva Collins was in her heyday several decades ago. Nowadays she’d get called a white racist, even though she was black.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 21, 2023 at 6:39 AM

  7. Possumhaw fruit provides us in this part of central Florida with some rare color relief for our typically all-too-brown winters. It’s pretty sparse around the state but we’ve found a few spots where it seems to thrive.

    Possumhaw Trail sure has a nice ring to it!

    Wally Jones

    January 21, 2023 at 8:18 PM

    • If it were a lot smaller than a state highway I’d call it Possumhaw Path for the alliteration. Central Texas is far enough south that we don’t get the kind of fall foliage common farther north, but we get more than Florida does. Even here, possumhaw serves the same purpose you mentioned.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 21, 2023 at 9:45 PM

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